Conversations in the Dining Room
Emma Knytleigh: In an attempt to record the current history of Stoney Grove a number of interviews and conversations will be recorded with some of the people who have connections with the estate. Accordingly the Dining Room has been supplied with hidden microphones and recording equipment to allow the process to take place in as natural a setting as possible. Participants are, of course, aware that conversations are being recorded.
Transcript: "Conversation with Irene Kent and Gladys Rutherford , 1999." Present IK, GR, EK
Emma: I want to thank you both for coming by and helping us.
Gladys: Oh, thank you for inviting us. We don't get out much now, do we Irene?
Irene No, well with the arthritis, it gets hard doesn't it?
Gladys: And it's hardly safe on the roads these days, everyone drives so fast, don't they?
Irene: Road Rage, that's what it is. I heard about it on the radio. They shoot each other in America!
Emma: Could you tell me about life at Stoney Grove when the Halls were here?
Irene: Oh, he was a nice man wasn't he? Monty was very quiet, but a gentleman.
Gladys: Well class will show. It's all in the blood really, isn't it?
Irene: Breeding. Aren't these cakes nice. We don't have cake much now, do we Gladdy?
Gladys: Well, when you're on a pension you have to cut back. We don't all live in great houses, you know. We used to get invited here when we were younger. After the war Monty gave a number of small house parties. That was nice. There was rationing you know, but they usually found some meat here. Still you're much too young to know about all that.
Irene: We have some photographs, if you'd like to see them.
Irene: Why that's Mr. Monty Hall and Shirley Johnson.
Emma: Shirley? Shirley who is still the housekeeper here? Did she attend the parties?
Irene: Oh, yes. There were those who said it wasn't right, her being 'below stairs', but Miss Ellen never had any time for private entertaining, and he had to have a lady host didn't he?
Gladys: Shirley was a quite a looker in her day, you know. There were several men after her, but of course she was married to Martin, with that poor baby Elizabeth.
Emma: Elizabeth was her daughter?
Irene: Yes, born right after she married Martin. I'm not one to drag up old gossip, but one day she was gone to her aunt's and we never saw her again.
Gladys: She died, you see. A real shame, wasn't it?
Emma: Who Shirley?!
Irene: No, Elizabeth, her daughter. Terrible it was, and that child of hers never knowing his Father.
Emma: Shirley never knew who her daughter's father was?!
Irene: You don't listen very well for a researcher, do you? Shirley is another story, not that there wasnt some gossip there too, but I was talking about Elizabeth.
Gladys: She never recovered from the pregnancy they said...
Irene: ...And the shame.
Gladys: ...So after her son was born she stayed with Shirley's sister Vera, but she never recovered and when the poor thing passed away they looked after the son, John. He's working here now too, isn't he?
Emma: So Elizabeth never told who the father was?
Irene: Well there were suspicions of course. She was young and a wild one. She had the run of this place as a child, spoilt by the Halls when she was a baby. Treated her like one of their own they did.
Emma: And none of the Halls married?
Gladys: Well they say Monty was disappointed in love as a young man. Ellen had her writing, of course, she never had any time for nonsense like romance, and Basil lost his fiancée. Very tragic it was.
Irene: We think Basil had friends.
Gladys: Not that we're ones to gossip are we Irene?
Irene: No, I wouldn't gossip, but people talk, and they said he had friends in London.
Irene: Now before the war there were parties here. Politics, I think, but we were just girls then. They even said he might join Parliament, Basil, that is. But with the war, I think he was with the wrong camp.
Irene: Is there more tea?
Gladys: Perhaps I could have just one more piece of cake. You have to have a little indulgence, don't you?
Emma: Well perhaps we've had enough for today. Maybe we could meet again another day.
Irene: That would be lovely wouldn't it, Gladdy?
Gladys: Oh, yes, lovely.
Emma: Thank you.
Irene: Thank you.
Gladys: Tell Shirley thank you for the lovely tea, too. I hope we didn't say anything we shouldn't have. It's all old news now, isn't it?